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Competitive gap still favours steel

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Structural steel remains the most cost effective option for building frames and floors in the latest update of a building cost comparison study carried out by cost consultants Davis Langdon.

The cost of structural steelwork and alternative framing materials – particularly concrete – have all risen since the previous study a year ago, but the competitive advantage of steel has been maintained, according to the Davis Langdon findings. The study is the latest in a series commissioned by Corus that goes back to 1993, comparing the relative costs of constructing two fully specified commercial buildings, a speculative office development in Manchester and a London head office development.

‘These figures update the survey of a year ago with prices to the second quarter of 2006, and show that steel is still the choice to make even when purely cost grounds are considered,’ says Corus General Manager Alan Todd. ‘When you add to the cost benefits all the other arguments for steel like speed, flexibility and sustainability, then it is no surprise that steel continues to capture market share.

‘There has been no change in the relative competitive position of steel in comparison with other framing and flooring materials over the past few years, as this series of surveys shows.’

The overall cost advantage from using steel is estimated at in excess of £50 per m², without allowing for the faster construction times afforded by steel.

(A fuller report of the study will be carried in the January 2007 edition of NSC, click here)

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